“And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end—that you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
A little faith is better than no faith; but a firm, fruitful faith is much to be desired.
Years ago American evangelist, D.L. Moody, was preaching on faith and he said “You can have second-class faith or first-class faith. Second-class faith is that which says ‘What time I am afraid, I will trust in You’ (Ps. 56:3). But, first-class faith declares ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid’?” (Ps. 27:1).
There’s no doubt that first-class faith is much more desirable—as is firsthand faith over secondhand faith (Jn. 4:39-42). But, the fact remains that we’re all susceptible to “bi-polar faith” like Elijah, where one minute we’re calling down fire from Heaven (I Kings 18:20-40) and the next minute we’re sitting under the proverbial juniper tree, depressed and wishing we were dead (I Kings 19:1-4). Or, like David, one minute we’re slaying lions, bears and 9’9” tall giants and the next minute we’re saying “No one cares for my soul” (Ps. 142:4b).
That’s why “every one of us needs to show the same diligence (Grk. ‘spoude’—‘speedy dispatch, faithfulness, eagerness, earnestness, careful attention to, etc.’) to the full assurance (Grk. ‘plerophoria’—‘entire confidence, to carry out fully, accomplish, make full proof of, etc.’) of hope unto the end.”
Simply put, the Lord desires that we sprint across the Finish Line. . .bring much “precious fruit” (souls) with us. . . not barely dragging or limping across empty-handed.
And, again, the key is “faith that is full and overflowing!”
It’s impossible to have this if we’re “slothful (Grk. ‘nothros’—‘lazy, sluggish, stupid, etc.’) followers of Christ.” Instead we should be “followers (Grk. ‘mimetes’—‘imitators, to emulate, to mimic, etc.’) of them who through faith and patience (Grk. ‘makrothumia’—‘longanimity, forbearance, longsuffering, perseverance, fortitude, tempered endurance, etc.’) inherit the promises.”
That’s why we should spend considerable time “chewing the cud” on passages like Heb. 11:32-40 or Fox’s Book of Martyrs. That’s why Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Disciple and John Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress should be required reading for each saint of God.
Why is that?
As the old Gospel song put it, “Should I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease, While others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?”
Oh, dear Pilgrim, “God is faithful” (I Cor. 10:13) and so should we be. Our Lord Jesus never shrank back from the Cross; neither should we (Lk. 9:23-26; Gal. 2:20). Don’t settle for weak or half-hearted faith. Pursue “full-assurance faith”—for that’s what pleases our Master.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated February 5, 2011